If you’re just joining the blog, it’s my birthday month and my yearly tradition is in full effect. Every week, I do something I love and once a month thereafter, I continue the celebration.
Last week, I spent a sweet rehearsal fellowship day with my Troupe. When I got home that evening, I thought of them and the sentiments below and smiled.
Leading a team can be isolating. Your brain is on while theirs are asleep. They seek the end while you’re combing through the knots of details. The changes and adjustments — they are many. They seek answers you’re still asking God for. You create room for them to grow. You are grateful they do the same for each other and for you. You laugh together. You cry together. You trust they can turn the vision from the pen to perfection. You carry them in your spirit. You pray for their families. Their health. Their successes. Their hearts. You ache when they do, even when they don’t know it. So, why would I kick off my birthday month in this lane?
They also remind me to wear my knee brace. They force me to be vulnerable when I don’t want to do so. They balance grace for my mistakes with constructional feedback. They dive into the Word of God with me. They make me laugh within 1 minute of our meeting together. They pray for me. They trust me to lead the ship and they go where God leads us. They are unapologetically sold out for Christ. They are raw and tangible human beings. They always seek to understand each other. They allowed me to grow as a leader and as a friend.
To spend the beginning of August with my team instead of my original plans was a conscious decision to celebrate our connection. Our family. That growth journey. That opportunity to serve. As leader, I’ve learned to listen, be bare, be firm, and be observant. I’ve learned to be students of them. I’ve heard their inaudible voices of grief and anxiety and also memorized their laughters. I’ve learned that these are my people. My tribe. They are ready to pray at the drop of a dime and they are spiritually sound as a entity and as individuals.
The best part – they can carry on without me and I trust them wholeheartedly. So, what better way to kick off August than to remember that I’m not alone? To break bread and drip sweat and exchange sharpness with my folks? To fortify that God gifted me with people that turned from strangers to family?
To share life with others as you morph into versions of yourself is not for the faint of heart. But we do it anyway because of moments like this past weekend. Because Love is at the center. So…
Cheers to August. Cheers to us. Here we are — Still flapping these wings to heights unknown. Still soaring above murky waters. Still maneuvering through the challenges this season brought with it Still here. Still making it.
And I celebrate that. I celebrate God in me. I celebrate the woman I have become with my Troupe. My tribe. My sisters.
Hello, August. I welcome you with open arms because I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
Peace & Thanks for listening, Sweetheart. Open those arms wide and accept that you’re an amazing soul with potential above the heavens. And do something you love this week too. Put it on your calendar.
Well, Sweethearts, I have one for you that may sting a bit. It’s got some length, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I would share it with you at an appointed time. Now is that time.
“Let the fools pass you.”
Heard 2/9/20 @ 7:16 PM
I was driving on the night I heard this. A car was riding my tail. I don’t have road rage, so I waited until I could safely change lanes to get out of the way. The driver sped up but did not pass me. It was a weird moment because I had been subject to road rage before.
A few years ago, a White male targeted me while driving one day and antagonized me for a couple of interstate exits. I had not cut anyone off or was going too slow, so I was confused when the taunting began. I got over; he got over. When I sped up, he sped up. When I braked, he did the same. He almost sideswiped me numerous times and tried to run me off the road. He yelled choice words and had an evil grin. I truly believe he was possessed. The end of that story includes me doing some defensive driving and swerving off the exit he tried to block me from accessing. My hands were shaking, but I quickly circled back to head in the opposite direction and took some alternative ways to my destination.
So, you can understand why I was a little leery of this present-day situation. It was night time, not during the day like the previous experience. My senses were heightened and I was prepared to defensively drive again. I sped up; so did the driver. I braked; the driver did the same. I sped up and the driver revved the engine. I was annoyed, but calm. I accelerated with the intentions of leaving the opposing car behind my tail lights. Then, I heard the Holy Spirit say loud and clear – “Let the fools pass you.” I let off the gas and the car kept going into the distance.
For a moment, I was morphing into someone from the Fast & Furious movies. I was prepared to take my ride to the 100 mark and beyond if it meant proving my point to that driver. I didn’t sense danger; I detected that s/he was baiting me. And I almost took it. Almost.
Sweetheart, the evil forces in this world want nothing more than you bait you into being reckless. To be so autonomous that you sincerely disregard everything you know to be the truth and cling to a thwarted view of community. You know that Jesus is the answer and you also know that the pandemic is still here. You know that God is Jehovah Jireh and you also know what’s in your bank account. You know that faith is imperative, but you also know God made science. It’s inevitable to be shaky about some things, but it is not acceptable to be dismissive, callous, and hasty.
Fools will be fools until they want to know better. Jesus knew that better than anyone. Here is He was… the Son of God wrapped in skin and filled with blood, organs, and sensitivity and yet, even He couldn’t convince everyone that He was the One they prayed for and that His Word was true. Instead, the law keepers and church officers cherry picked the Word and made it fit to their liking. It happens now. The parable of the virgins is a good example of how some people take a fragments of information and miss the essential component for it to be effective (Matthew 25).
It’s not your job to convince a fool of her/his wrongdoings. It’s your job as a faith walker to set the example to light the way to right standing with God. Period. So, the more you yell on social media, the more you speak out of season, the more you choose to be blind to the truth, the less empathy you exhibit, the less Love you spread, and the less Jesus they see.
I am convinced that some people just like to rebel. They love to stir the ant mound. They feed off of drama, frenzy, and sensationalism instead of being patient enough to research the facts and listen comprehensively. Critically thinking is simply not in their repertoire. If they don’t like it, they starkly stonewall it.
As frustrating as that may be, your freedom comes in knowing that you are not responsible for their actions. Yes, in times like these, we can be negative benefactors of their decisions, but ultimately, we are not responsible for others. We are responsible to each other not for each other.
So, if someone wants to rebel against handwashing and sanitation because they believe it weakens their immune system to fight off COVID-19, let them have it. You just make sure you wash and sanitize you and your area. If your sister keeps squandering her money, let it go. Let the fools pass you. Yes, I said it. Let… the fools… pass you. You gain nothing trying to convince someone who has made it their ultimate goal to be rebellious against anything that appears to threaten her/him. You could showcase a petri dish full of bacteria and a person with a rebellious spirit will tell you it’s not real. You can read him the law and his reality will say those rights are being taken away. She will say “thank you, essential workers,” then say that the elimination of EMT Breonna Taylor‘s life was justified. The same person will wear steel toe boots, a hard hat, gloves, or a mask to work, but not follow the rules in a grocery store, school, or barber shop. Sweetheart, let them pass you. It’s not worth your peace to be angry at their mindset. Frustrated? Sure. Annoyed? Understandable. Just like I was with those drivers, I ultimately had to veer off or slow down to save myself.
Here’s a couple of verses as a reminder when your foot is on the emotional gas and you’re on the edge of fighting the whirlwind –
“Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” – Proverbs 18:2
“Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” – Matthew 15:14
Lastly, I’m reminded of a time in school when I saw some students cheating on a test. It made me angry because I had studied hard for it and they were getting away with a great grade. Then came the semester exam and those students were struggling. One of them left out of anger a few minutes into the exam. I didn’t feel sorry for them. I did not help them. I kept going. They didn’t fool the teacher; they fooled themselves.
Whether it’s personal or professional, I pray that you let the fools pass you. It just seems like what you’re doing isn’t worth it, but your sanity, your wellbeing, your health is worth the work. Don’t let anyone make you think otherwise.
I’m glad you made it to another Wednesday. If no one told you lately, let me say I’m proud of you. You’re still here. You’re still breathing. You’re making it and I’m glad you stopped by.
I’ve been chewing on a simple doozy the last few weeks. I can’t wait to hear your take on it.
Be ready for what you pray for.
We tend to say that directive when it’s a blessing and we experience overwhelming joy upon receipt or when someone says something that could be disastrous. This time around, it’s not the joyous feeling yet. I’m nervous and need to throttle down from the clouds of anxiety about what lies ahead. Let me explain.
Somewhere along this faith walk, the following sentences are usually said in prayer or song:
“Use me, God.” “I’m available to You.” “I’ll do what You say.” “Send me, I’ll go.” “Fill me up, God.” “Do whatever You want to do.” “All Glory to God.” “I surrender all.”
Well, I’m going to give it to you straight — those words are like vouchers and they get cashed in. Every time, my face resembled the woman in this post’s feature photo. Right before the new year’s eve countdown came to an end, I asked for opportunities to let God shine regardless of my comfort zone. I said I was ready for whatever. I meant it. I really did, but I didn’t say it with expectation (remember, this is a no-judgment writing spot). It sounded good too as I looked up and said it with a smile. Then came some wisdom from my sisterfriend — it’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable. As soon as it left her lips, it penetrated my soul. I knew it was for me, but I didn’t greet it with a warm welcome. At all. The resonation sounded like a gong and it’s been reverberating ever since. I had questions when it sunk in – What in the world is that going to look like? Where would I be? What would I have to do? Could I live up to the assignment? I had no clue what was coming, but that uncomfortable factor was guaranteed and I had better brace for impact.
Since then, I have experienced blow after blow of growth opportunities. I see the buds of development in my gifts and fruition of my desires. It’s been uncomfortable but necessary and appreciated.
I’m definitely not complaining. If you follow this blog, you know I am a grateful spirit. It’s a way of life for me; however, I have never craved the spotlight and right now, I feel like a bright one is over my head. So, I’m determined to get these butterflies in my stomach to fly in formation so I can rock what’s ahead in Jesus’s Name. I am reminded that these are God-given opportunities and answered prayers no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Those words I said from my heart with seconds left in 2019 had a date and now is the appointed time with more to come. Vouchers, I tell you… vouchers.
In essence, review your prayers, Sweethearts. Mean what you say and get ready to follow through with God’s purpose in you. We are instruments and instruments are designed to produce sound. I pray that your comfort zones continue to break open so you can produce the music written on your heart by the Creator. You were designed to grow. To develop. To produce. To flourish. All of those are traumatizing processes for the seed, but necessary for the fruit to come forth.
Here’s to our growth processes, Sweethearts. Stay encouraged and walk right on it. That’s what I’m doing. As an example, I wrote a devotional for the 8th day of Zion iCampus’s 10-day Corporate Fasting & Prayer. I rarely share my work outside of this blog and social media, but I wanted to show that I’m practicing what I’m preaching. God will be glorified beyond my comfort zone.
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
We made it to Thursday (it’s after midnight here) and I’m proud of us. So proud. I hope you’re doing well. I’ve been praying for you.
Tonight, I want to share a few prayers that I’ve said to cover you over time.
“Father God, I pray their hearts are healed and whole.”
“Lord, please be with them wherever they are.”
“Lord, keep them safe.”
“God, I thank you for them all.”
“Hold them close.”
“Lord, give them everything they need and more.”
“Remind them that they’re beautiful today.”
“Help them hear Your voice.”
“Give them something to laugh about today.”
“Let them know that they are special to you.”
“Lord, wrap them in Your Love right now.”
“Please give them strength, in the Name of Jesus.”
I pray that you felt remembered, motivated, strengthened, or calmed at some point while visiting my writing home.
Just like I hoped one of these prayers reached your need, I encourage you to say yours to do the same for someone else. We need each other now more than ever and this is not the time to withhold a prayer of any size. All are welcome and necessary.
“Prayer is simply talking to God like a friend and should be the easiest thing we do each day.”
– Joyce Meyer
This week, try exhaling a line of prayer from your heart. Don’t tell yourself that it isn’t good enough to say aloud. Those are lies from the pit of hell. Breathe it. Speak it. Whisper it if you have to. Just don’t trap it inside because of the lie. It could be the very prayer someone is praying for.
Stay well out there, Sweethearts. Peace & Thanks for listening.
In both intake processes, we learned that certain behavior was not allowed while wearing paraphernalia. The reason? People were likely to refer to the organization when they saw us instead of remembering our names.
I always think of the sorority sentiment when I read this verse. We are representatives of Christ and we wear His name across our chests. His Love beats in our hearts. His stripes are balms of healing for our wounds. He is our Lord and Savior; we represent Him more than ourselves.
When we are around other members of faith, it is easy, but we sometimes forget to keep our badges clean in other circles. It could be us that causes others to turn from God, to stew in anger, or remain hurt for years… all because of how we represented Christ.
“…giving thanks through Him to our Father.” That’s the remaining part of that verse. “Through Him” sticks out to me. What a blessing to have a liaison like Jesus.
Represent, Family. Represent.
The sad part is there are members of society that think other members are inferior, incompetent, unintelligent, whining about nothing, etc. and they also profess to be Christians. Can you imagine wearing a name badge and every time you clean it, someone flings mud on it? You take a deep breath and shine it up again. You smile at its beauty and BOOM… another ball of mud. Fellow Greek Family, can you fathom the thought of someone doing that to your lettered jacket or jersey? That’s what bigotry does to the Faith.
“Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”
As I always say — You can not be a bigot and follow Christ. It is a blatant collision of ideals. So, I ask you today… how salty are you? How seasoned is your speech? It’s not easy — I know, especially when passion steps in the way. You’re not alone. Seems like the whole world is working on this one together.
Peace & Thanks for listening. Stay well out there!
I hope you’re doing OK out there. It’s rough in some places; I won’t lie. There’s a lot of hurt in the world… a lot of anger, a lot of uncertainty, a lot of anguish. Before today, I had another message in mind, but the only I could think to share was what I said on Sunday. How crazy is that? I just posted about Love (the real stuff, not that fake mess) being the foundational solution to our divisive American society and here we are days later… another life added to the list of fatal injustice.
So, Love is what circulated in my psyche all day. I scrolled through my phone and reached out to as many Black/Brown men that I could. Violence, racism, economic dishonesty… it won’t go away tomorrow, but I could at least check on my tribe. My people. The ones that have been my friends and my family. I could extend a listening ear, an empathetic heart… I could show Christ. Despite the rampant racism that continues to spread like wildfire, there are people like my diverse group of friends who say enough is enough. They are teaching their children that discrimination is wrong and how to spot it. They are having difficult conversations with their loved ones. They are standing with people of color in solidarity.
I have to hold fiercely to the fact that Love can multiply just as much as hate…. just as much as the supremacist rhetoric. After all, Jesus came to save the world and he was hated by those who kept asking for the Messiah’s arrival — totally missing that the Messiah was Him.
So, what inspiration/motivation do I have for you this week? To keep going. To speak out. To keep working. To defy the stereotypes. The defeat the odds. To go to college. To pick up a trade. To invest in your community. To teach your children. To serve the less fortunate. To love the unlovable. To vote. To pray. To read. To listen. To hold yourself accountable for your own biases. To listen to God’s Voice and adhere to His directions over your own opinion.
It takes work, but it’s worth it and it’s the only way we fight to win and not just yell to be heard. Like I said in my post 50 Shades of Fight, There are boxing gloves that can fit every hand for the fight against injustice. The question is whether you are going to use yours.
Here’s some prior posts that may help you get through the week.
Help comes in different forms. The question is — do you want it?
Now, before you respond with hearty yes, take a minute a think about your answer.
Help sounds heroic, urgent, even sexy. We revel in being the helper. I’ve seen pre-Kindergarteners fight over who would help the teacher and adults battle in a boardroom to supply the solution. We like to help, at least most of us do. Sometimes this heroic (or altruistic) gesture comes with a price. We end up being horrible at accepting help when it’s our turn. I heard a preacher say once – everyone wants a miracle, but no one wants to be in need of one.
Fast forward to the next dot on this shortstop — What do you do when you need help? And I mean, you know you need it, but being in the mess feels good. It feels cozy. Comforting. Familiar. You may start to indulge in thoughts that keep you bound in the mess… recounting the past or imagining a future that may never arrive. Next thing you know, the thought clouds pass and there you are… still captive in the muddy mess. Let’s go practical.
In order to wrap yourself in the presence of Jesus instead of marinating in the warm, cozy mess, you have to accept help. Your heart has to be open enough to receive it. This sounds easy, but it can be difficult to release what feeds our monsters. When we do, the presence of Jesus creates a new blanket for us to curl up in. The downside? We can sometimes use our faith as an excuse not to seek help.
So, whether it is gluttony via extra trips to fridge or lack of self-control by mismanaging your funds, you need help and it’s up to you to accept it.
It’s mental health awareness month, so there are professionals available to help you through the rough patches. I have a shortlist of counselors/therapists I can share if you need a starting point; just private message or email me and I will send it to you. After all, God made therapists too. That’s a form of help you may be avoiding. That’s a healthy journey to receive the peace of Jesus’s presence in your life.
So, I’ll circle back to the beginning — Help comes in different forms. The question is — do you want it? What do you do when you need it?
Peace & Thanks for listening! Stay well out there!
This past Sunday was Easter Sunday where Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I thought of a quick stop of encouragement for you… for us.
I am determined to come out of this quarantine season better than I was when it began. Like our Savior, we are in a place of holding. It is darker for some than it is for others, but one truth is the same — it is temporary.
What will you become when this is all over? When a new normal resumes, will you carry the same baggage? Will the residue of your anger infiltrate your future relationships? Will you continue to abuse others and yourself? Who will you be after we come out of this season? Those are my questions to you.
Personally, I have a list of to-do’s. I’m definitely not sitting at home twiddling my thumbs. Those that know me well can attest that I am always working on something to achieve my goals. This season is no different. There is one thing on the to-do list that supersedes them all… and that is to stay free. To not let anything physically, mentally, and emotionally hold me captive from filling this life with everything I was created to be. I know I make God proud. I know His love is unconditional; however, I know I can get in my own way. I can think that I’m not good enough, that I’m too old, that I’m not old enough, etc. That part —- that cancer — has no place here. So, under quarantine, that is how I will resurrect.
How will you?
I love y’all and I’m praying for you. Peace & Thanks for listening!
I just had a “listening at the speed of life” moment.
I was sitting on the couch and noticed my dog’s ears. They were turned outward while he was lying on his bed. I needed him to move so I wouldn’t step on him (he likes to move his bed close to my feet). I shifted my weight and one of his ears turned toward me. I whispered his name and he looked up.
Now, when Sammy and I lock eyes, I know he’s paying attention; however, when he hears my voice, his formerly-outward ears rotate toward me.
Pause. Take note of that for a second.
His eyes can be on me and I know he will hear my words, but the moment I call his name, the orientation of his ears always changes. He not only recognizes my voice, but he is waiting to hear from me. It doesn’t matter what is on television or what music I’m playing, he hears me over the noise.
The Holy Spirit used this as a teachable moment and I said a quick yet sincere prayer right then.
Lord, may I always incline my ear to You. Your voice supersedes every sound around me. I want to always be ready to hear your voice — whatever it is You have to say.
Here’s a verse to chew on that relates to this prayer – Isaiah 55:3: “Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.”
Here’s the next step. While out for our walk today, I heard more from the Holy Spirit. “He even inclines his ear when you shift.” It made me pause again. I shook my head and said, “Lord, please let me be so sensitive that I listen when you move.”Think of how much spiritual sensitivity and intimacy that takes… to change the orientation of your heart, mind, and body when God shifts his movement around you and in you. To turn your ear toward Him at a moment’s notice because You don’t want to miss what He has to say. That’s how I want to be. It’s how I am now, but I want it even more so.
I pray that your ears become inclined too. That during this season and beyond, you will hear the voice of God as clearly as you hear a parent’s voice. I pray that you recognize it clearly as the stillness of the world is commanded among us. Here’s a hint – His voice is usually not loud, but it is clear. Keep reading the Word and saying real prayers, Sweetheart. He is there and he is also listening out for you.